Friday, July 31, 2009

Battling the Weeds.

I’ve said it before… this has been a fabulous year for weeds. Any small piece of bare ground here has sprouted an unbelieveable assortment of weeds. Tall weeds, creeping weeds, spreading weeds … we have them all. It’s been difficult to keep up with them. From what I saw yesterday afternoon, I'm definitely losing the battle.

The rose field looks horrible. Many of the smaller roses have weeds around them that are taller than the rose itself. Bermuda grass has overtaken the ramblers on the fence, crawling right over the mulch and settling in like a blanket.

Yesterday afternoon, I went out to try to take control of the problem. First, I sprayed the rambler bed with Ornamec … it’s a selective herbicide that only kills grass, so it’s perfect for use in the rose beds. It takes a week or so to work, but it kills the grass without having to do any digging. After the grass dies, I’ll deal with the broadleaf weeds.

The ones in the rose field are mostly broadleaf weeds, which I have to pull by hand. Many of them were under and around the roses, so it would be WAY too dangerous to try to kill them with Round-up. Two hours of work, and I had 5 half-rows clean. It’s not very much, considering the size of the field, but it’s a start.

Conditions necessary for healthy weeds must be related to having healthy roses, because the rose are growing really well too. The teas and chinas and polyanthas are blooming like crazy. The modern hybrid teas are beginning another cycle of bloom, and the climbers on the arches are beginning to grow new canes that are long enough to climb.

If you come this weekend, please ignore the weeds. Enjoy the flowers … they smell heavenly. Hopefully, with lots of pulling and careful spraying, the weeds will be gone soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I have my Tuesdays back.

Yesterday was my last day of class. In case you didn’t know, I took Greenhouse Management at J. Sargent Reynolds Community College this summer. Every Tuesday since late May, I have been hanging out in greenhouses throughout central Virginia (in summer, ugh!), learning how they tick. Now that class is finished, I have my Tuesdays back.

To celebrate, today I spent the morning with my camera at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. I wasn’t expecting much, since it’s mid-summer and the roses should be resting in the heat. To my surprise, almost all of the teas and chinas had at least a few flowers. The Crenshaw Musk was quietly blooming … with most of her fragrant little flowers WAY over my head.

Dorsey-Cosby China

Crenshaw Musk

There are lots and lots of tombstones there with roses on them.

Roses and Spiderwebs

Here is a slideshow of the best of today’s photos.

Hollywood Cemetery


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Garden at Ben Lomond in Manassas.

Earlier this year, I was in Manassas to take one of our cats to the vet. After her appointment, I made a detour past Ben Lomond (a 19th Century stone manor house) to see the rose garden there.

The roses could use a bit of care, but it wasn’t really all that bad. I was very pleased to find roses there that you almost never see in a public garden. Most of them are old, once-blooming European roses … ones that can survive and thrive with minimal care, and bloom like crazy every spring.

I don’t know the names of most of the roses I saw. There were very nice engraved markers beside almost all of the roses, but many of them are obviously beside the wrong rose.

Here is a slideshow of my photos, so you can see them for yourselves.



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Internet Store is Coming!

From the beginning of this plan to start a rose nursery, I knew that I would offer Internet shopping. You wouldn’t believe how many things are involved in what should be such a simple concept. Take orders, put roses in boxes, send them to their new homes … not so fast.

Thank Heaven for my dear husband, the computer guy. What you see on the web site now, and what is in the new E-Store you'll see soon, is all his work. I wrote down a big list of what I like to have when I’m shopping online, and he made it happen.

Within a few days, the store will be up and running and ready to take orders. There are only a few tiny things to finish … I’m so excited. I hope you are as thrilled with it as I am.

Here’s a little sneak peek:
Catalog Page

I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

At Last, A Finished House Project!

Balancing the renovation of our house with the preparations and opening of the nursery has been really hard. I find my energy (both physical and mental) directed more toward my to-do list for the nursery, while the house projects remain unfinished. We’ve been able to keep up with things so we’re not back-sliding … but real progress on anything house-related has been rare.

Fourth of July weekend, we made a point to put garden tasks and mowing aside and we started a project that will make a difference around here. Our garage, like many other garages, had become the place to dump stuff … out of sight, out of mind, don’t ya know. I was mortified every time I had to open the garage door in the presence of anyone other than immediate family or our closest friends.

While I was gone that Friday with friends, my dear husband surprised me by clearing out most of the storage-related clutter. He made trip after trip, taking all the items to the attic of our detached garage. For most of the things he moved, this just delayed the inevitable decision (should it stay, or should it go?). Like Scarlett O’Hara, we’ll deal with this ‘tomorrow’ … the task at hand was to make sense of our garage and begin to put an end to some of the chaos.

Garage Wall

We have a huge pile of slat-wall, and lots of hangers, shelves, and accessories, that we salvaged two years ago from a store in the mall that was remodeling. One Sunday after closing, 4 of us descended on the place with screw guns, hammers, and pry bars, and we took away 5 pick-up truck-loads of stuff. Half the pile is blue or grey laminate, to be used in the detached garage, and half is oak veneer, to be used in the house garage and nursery office cottage.

Slat Wall

I don’t like the idea of relying on the masonry walls of our house to hold anything heavy. The old bricks and mortar of the original portion of the house are fairly soft, and I can’t trust a masonry anchor will hold well. To deal with this, we installed pressure-treated framing, attached to the floor and to the ceiling joists, so we have a nice secure structure on which to screw the slat-board.

Garage Wall Framing

This wall of the garage now holds our garden tools … rakes, shovels, etc., and has hanging baskets for trowels and gloves, and what-not. I’m really excited by the idea of being able to walk down to the garage and gather up all the tools and supplies for whatever job I’m going to do. There is room at the bottom of the wall for baskets to hold balls and other toys, instead of having this stuff all over the floor.

Finished Garage Wall

After a bit more organizing and decluttering, I may even be able to put the Jeep in here … next year, after I move the nursery operation to the cottage by the barn. Until then, the driveway is blocked by benches full of potted roses for sale, so I can’t get anything through there anyway.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One Little Found Rose.

I have this cute little polyantha rose that I call Sumerduck Cemetery … because I found it beside a grave in a cemetery in Sumerduck, Virginia.

Sumerduck Cemetery Polyantha

The bush was a little more than 2 feet tall, sticking out the top of a struggling clump of hosta. I took a small cutting that day, and I was able to root two plants from it. I also trimmed some of the dead wood off the mother plant … I believe we should leave roses in better condition that they were when we found them.

As I was coming home from Culpeper yesterday afternoon, I stopped at the cemetery to check on the little rose. Here’s what I found:

Embrey Grave w/o Sumerduck Polyantha

The rose is completely gone. I dug through the heap of hosta, hoping to find something underneath … there’s no sign of it. I don’t know if it was a victim of our extreme drought last summer, or if it died because of the unseasonable cold last winter, or if someone was tidying up and removed it.

Things like this happen all the time. There are roses in a cemeteries/old house sites/vacant lots that die from weather, are weed-wacked, sprayed with herbicide, cut down, dug out, bull-dozed, etc. I hope there are other people who feel the loss of the heritage that this rose represented.

I’m glad I took a cutting that day I found it. This rose, whatever its identity, will live on in my garden … and your garden, too, if you choose to buy it while you’re here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Roadside Rose Rustle

My husband and I were driving through Virginia’s Northern Neck yesterday evening. “There’s a rose,” I said, as we passed some sort of utility building. He turned around so I could check out my discovery.

Swamp Rose

It was Rosa palustris, the Swamp Rose, growing happily in the ditch next to the building’s driveway. I don’t grow this one yet, and I wanted to take cuttings … but we were in his truck, and my cutting kit is in my Jeep.

We searched the truck and we found what we needed: pruners and a left-over bottle of water in the console, leather gloves in the bag with the bungies and tie-downs, and napkins and a zip-lock bag in the glovebox. I had to borrow my husband’s shoes because I was wearing flip flops … not exactly the footwear of choice for walking through a thorny ditch.

Swamp Rose

I tip-toed along the ditch and took a handful of cuttings. I laid my cuttings out on the tailgate of the truck, wrapped them in napkins, put them in the zip-lock bag, and poured in some water. They’re in the basement refrigerator right now … I’ll put them in the greenhouse later today.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Baby Pictures

Yesterday, I looked up from my daily routine of caring for all the pots of roses for sale and I noticed how well they are doing. In just the last month, most of them have more than doubled in size. Quite a few of them are already on their second cycle of bloom. It’s amazing what these little babies are capable of.

Caldwell Pink

Here is a slideshow of photos taken yesterday morning. All of these photos are of roses in pots in the nursery area, ready to go to their new homes.

Slide Show


Related Posts with Thumbnails